Thursday, January 6, 2011

BCC Etiquette and history

Nico saw me writing an email with someone in the BCC field. He asked me what BCC meant. Turned out none of the boys knew. They didn't know what the cc field was for either. I explained the CC field to them along with the origin of the term, at least what I think is the origin: "Carbon Copy" from the time when we used typewriters and carbon paper to make copies. I think the boys have a hard time relating to such ancient times and methods...

We then spoke about BCC. It is a somewhat delicate tool: blindly copying someone. I gave them examples of situations in which it was appropriate, such as BCC'ing someone from my own company in an external communication, or, maybe BCC'ing someone's boss/superior when you don't want them to feel like you are trying to make them look bad - but you do want their superior to be aware of the situation. I also mentioned to them the common BCC faux pais of replying to all when you are BCCed on an email. If someone BCCs you, they might not want the public recipients of the email to know about it. So don't reply to all unless you know it is OK. Just a few weeks ago someone did that to me. I found it frustrating and was incredulous that this person had been so careless.

Does Facebook have CC and BCC? If not, maybe all of this is irrelevant for my kids!

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